Target, eBay, and Home Depot have been attacked by hackers. How safe is your startup? When big names with all security mechanisms in place can get hacked, how secure can small startups be? They certainly don’t have sophisticated security systems.
Startups mainly face two security challenges. To start with, there is a demand for their data on the black market. Also, startups are often tight on cash and do not have enough resources to invest in high-end security solutions. Unfortunately, neither of these are valid excuses for not having a good defense against hackers.
According to a Juniper study, cybercrime costs may reach record highs of 2 trillion dollars by 2019 and startups are more vulnerable than established organizations to being hacked.
The Consequences of Getting Hacked
If you are a startup and get hacked, the consequences can be pretty dangerous. A lot of startups that get hacked have to shut down their shops for good. A data breach can severely affect your reputation. Even if you manage to reopen your doors after getting hacked, you will have a tough time regaining the lost trust. The fact that you got hacked is a clear sign that you are not capable of protecting your customers’ data. People want to do business with companies they can trust. Sometimes a data breach can result in legal action too. In some countries, an organization can get sued for losing their clients' data. Not many startups can handle the hefty legal costs associated with this.
How to Stay Protected
You don’t necessarily have to invest in high-end security products as soon as you launch your business. Rather, what you need is a basic defense system. To start with, you have to ensure that all your devices are protected with the latest anti-malware and anti-virus products. It is tempting to use free anti-virus programs, but keep in mind that they are not updated often.
Use strong passwords. Your passwords should consist of symbols, numbers, and upper and lower case letters. If you use guessable passwords, you are making it easier for hackers. You also need to change your passwords frequently.
Businesses that want to secure their data need to be vigilant. It’s a good idea to hire an expert to do an annual security audit. They can easily spot the flaws in your security establishment and suggest appropriate measures to fix them. You also need to ensure that your software is fully updated. For added protection, use a proxy software service.
Reduce Your Risk
Only give out your passwords to those people who absolutely need them. Remember that your employees don’t have to know your passwords to access your accounts. They only need access to the password manager that will log them into the account.
Data Destruction and Device Disposal
At some point in time, you will have to dispose of some data. Keep in mind that it is nearly impossible to truly erase data from a USB stick, cell phone, or external hard drive. Smart attackers can easily recover data from discarded drives. So dispose of your devices in a responsible manner and before doing that, ensure that you have destroyed the data. Discarded electronic devices are a goldmine of data for attackers and they don’t mind looking through the trash. Just because you have deleted your files, it does not mean that hackers cannot recover them. Before discarding your electronic devices, hire a company that specializes in data destruction.
Create Awareness About Data Security
Make sure that your employees are aware of the importance of securing your data. Ask them not to access work platforms on their personal devices. This might sound like a drastic move, but it is actually a smart idea because personal devices are not always secure. Of course, this requires you to buy several devices to be used in the office. While the initial investment will be high, you are less likely to have a data breach if work is performed on only secure work devices.
It doesn’t take a lot of time or resources to protect your tech startup from hackers. By simply staying vigilant and using updated software and systems, you can minimize your security risks to a great extent.